It was magic. In every world, it was a kind of magic.
“No maids, no funny talking, no fainting flowers.” Luli Wei is beautiful, talented, and desperate to be a star. Coming of age in pre-Code Hollywood, she knows how dangerous the movie business is and how limited the roles are for a Chinese American girl from Hungarian Hill―but she doesn’t care. She’d rather play a monster than a maid.
But in Luli’s world, the worst monsters in Hollywood are not the ones on screen. The studios want to own everything from her face to her name to the women she loves, and they run on a system of bargains made in blood and ancient magic, powered by the endless sacrifice of unlucky starlets like her. For those who do survive to earn their fame, success comes with a steep price. Luli is willing to do whatever it takes―even if that means becoming the monster herself.
***Thanks to NetGalley and Tordotcom for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.
enjoyable/easy to read:
Siren Queen sparkles with the magic of Old Hollywood and a little something more. The movie industry has been reimagined with stars who become immortal, changelings who work as extras, and powerful, monstrous men who are actual monsters.
You might say my family is in the business of immortality.
I loved the dark magical underbelly here; I just wish it had been explained more. The rules were inconsistent or nonexistent and were generally vague. The entire story sits in this general haze where nothing is fully explained, and it just is the way it is. Even Luli’s motivation to become a film star is uncertain. She struggles through a lot of hardship to achieve something almost impossible – but why? I know this could be the writing style, but I’m a details girl. If something happens, I want to know about it, why it happened, and what happens next. I’m sure Siren Queen will work better for a lot of other people, it was just a little too blurry for me.
I was alone, but as I stood in the eye of my own private hurricane, untouched by any of the people around me, I wondered if I had ever been anything but.